Skip to main content

Multi-million Philippine Irrigation Scam

It took up all of four years to build up a strong case to expose the so-called Talibon dam scam but in one fell swoop it was gone after the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas dismissed the case for lack of substantial legal basis.

The dismissal ended the lonely saga of Engr. Nilo Sarigumba, chair of the Boholanos Against Corruption, Oppression and Social Harassment (BACOSH) who was so obsessed of sending the perpetrators to jail only to be waylaid by a resolution he viewed with suspicion because of the machinations of some unseen and powerful hands.

Asked to react on insinuations of unseen hands as behind the case dismissal, Gov. Erico Aumentado minced no words in saying that it came from a polluted source whose motive was to discredit the findings of the Office of the Ombudsman.
When appraised of the case's dismissal, Sarigumba, in a radio interview apparently threw up his hands in surrender and invoked divine justice to punish the perpetrators.

Although the complaint was made up of several accused who are officials and employees of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Sarigumba's main target was Engr. Calixto Seroje, project manager of the questionable dam project.

The only hope, albeit slim, of the complainant was a motion for reconsideration which his legal counsel Artemio Cabatos has filed last August 19.

In his motion, Sarigumba through Cabatos cited an instance in dismissing the case where the graft investigator departed from the law and the evidence and that, resultantly, it has deprived the complainants---sovereign citizen-taxpayers-their day in court.

In dismissing the complaint, the Ombudsman through Sarah Vergara, graft investigation and prosecution officer II, based its findings on several considerations impelling her to yield to the presumption of regularity in the implementation of the project, at least for the moment.

While the Ombudsman admitted that it saw amidst the assortment of findings gathered by the NIA after its fact-finding investigation was the indubitable complexity and breath of the works involved, it also took cognizance to the fact that the project was not yet completed and its finances not yet been subjected to a post-audit by the Commission on Audit.

According to the anti-graft investigator, the COA conducted an inspection of the project on January 26, 1999 and it thereafter declared that it " interposed no objection of the reported 49.0l% project accomplishment as of December 1998".

MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

Zeroing in on the four years of painstaking wait for the case to prosper in court, the motion for reconsideration instead lamented its outcome which it described as a strange verdict of dismissal for lack of substantial legal basis.

At least seven points were raised by the complainants' lawyer in filing the motion for reconsideration.

Calling it with cranial and cardiac pains, they are:

1. The four years that the instant case took before it was resolved is, in itself, annoying to the citizens of this country who care about the rule of law, official probity and a regime of unadulterated justice.

2. Complainants got a dash of hope when the NIA Fact-Finding Team reported irregularities in the questioned project, and a "Final Evaluation Report" categorically declared the presence of prima facie case against respondents, particularly Seroje.

3. An audit formally showed that as of December, 1993, only about 49.01% of the project had been accomplished, and yet the project outlay of P165 million had been exhausted. Where had about 50% of the appropriation gone?

4. On June 22, 2006-about two years from the filing of the complaint-Graft Investigator and Prosecution Officer Sarah Jo Vergara penned a resolution recommending the dismissal of the instant case for lack of substantial merit.

5. Years earlier, the office of the Ombudsman, found prima facie case against respondents. What happened in the interim which led to the lack of substantial legal basis finding on June 22, 2006.

6. The resumption of the works on the questioned project was made possible through fresh funding as the project cost in the sum of P165 million had been exhausted with no Small Reservoir Impounding Project (SRIP) being born: Why the lack of substantial basis?

7. Complainants' suspicion says that the questioned project, mysterious in itself, was shrouded with mysteries from the finding of prima facie case until the resolution of dismissal for lack of substantial legal basis.

Popular posts from this blog

Panglao Bohol International Airport Update

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has endorsed Gov. Erico Aumentado's request to frontload the 2010 budget for the Panglao Bohol International Airport to 2009.
  In a letter to Budget and Management Secretary Rolando Andaya, DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza favorably endorsed Aumentado's request seeking the frontloading, citing among other reasons, that 2010 is an election year.
  As such, Aumentado had explained, Congress might not be able to approve on time the calendar year 2010 General Appropriations Act (GAA), giving the country no other choice but to operate on a reenacted budget.
  A reenacted budget would jeopardize the airport project, the governor pointed out, because the 2009 budget carries only P307.5 million for the airport. The balance of the amount that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier approved for DOTC to come up with stands at P690,971,398 for a total allocation needed of P998,471,398.
  The Manila International Airport Authority (MI…

Bohol Tourist Spots - Bohol Attractions

Heading east from Tagbilaran along the south coast takes you first to the coastal fishing town of BOOL , 5km away. Said to be the oldest settlement on the island, it's also the site of the  Blood Compact Site, marked by an attractive bronze sculpture on the seafront. This is the spot where local chieftain Rajah Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi concluded an early round of Philippine–Spanish hostili-ties in 1565 by signing a compact in blood. Every year for one week in July, Boholanos gather in Bool for the  Sandugo  (One Blood)  festival  which, apart from the usual beauty pageants and roast pigs, includes a passionate re-enactment of the blood ceremony.
About 2km east of Bool, BACLAYON  is the site of  Baclayon Church, the oldest stone church in the Philippines. Much of the existing facade was added by the Augustinian Recollects in the nineteenth century, but the rest dates back to 1595 and was declared a national historical landmark in 1995. The church's convent has been t…

Muslims in Bohol Philippines

The Muslim communities scattered all over Bohol stood us one Friday to make an unfavorable position of the hasty agreement defining the so-called ancestral domain of the Bangsamoro people.The ethnic leaders assembled Friday at Camp Dagohoy to witness the blessing and inauguration of the  new police center catering to Muslim issues and concerns. It is called Sala'am Center.It was an opportune time for the Post to get the reaction of the Muslim leaders given the combustible issue of a peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islam Liberation Front (MILF) now catching fire from all segments of Philippine society.The government and the MILF on Tuesday were set to sign a memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain following 10 years of off-and-on negotiations. But the Supreme Court stopped the ceremony after local Mindanao officials protested the inclusion of their areas in an expanded Moro homeland without consultations.Critics said the broad economic and po…